Aha!: Library 2.0 Moments of the Week!

While I am on the “high” of my “Library 2.0” moments of the week, I want take time to jot down a few thoughts!

VoiceThread, 12/11/07

For the last few days, I have been working with a student on a VoiceThread project.  This student is one who has not had a successful school experience in the last year.  In an effort to help introduce research concepts, I collaborated with this students’ teacher on a research pathfinder; we decided to have him create a VoiceThread as his learning artifact.  Patiently he researched his topic using books and our research databases; he also used some web resources he liked.  With help from both me and his teacher, he drafted mini-paragraphs so that he could have about 1 minute of narration for the four major strands of information he focused on related to his topic.

The “aha!” moment for me came on 12/11 when we recorded his first slide in VoiceThread.  When he listened to the playback of what he had read and recorded, his eyes lit up, and I saw an excitement in this student I had never seen before.  Last year, he was frequently sullen and not excited about his schoolwork at all—to literally see his eyes light up with joy and pride in his work—words really can’t describe how wonderful it felt to see that in this student. 

Thank you, VoiceThread!  This web 2.0 tool helped this student see that research could be fun and helped him feel good about his work—huge steps for this pumpkin!

Google Scholar, Google Library, Google Books, Del.icio.us

I used a combination of Web 2.0 tools to locate information sources not in our collection as well as to tap into existing information sources we do have as part of our virtual collection.    I then integrated the RSS feeds for these resources into a pathfinder I created for one of our Honors English teachers.

Conversations I’ve had recently with UGA librarian Nadine Cohen and UGA Professor Mary Ann Fitzgerald have had me thinking about how I could harness the power of Google to point students to quality information sources with more ease.  First, I used Google Scholar and Google Books to search for nonfiction texts that we did not have access to through our databases or print collection.  I then created a “My Google Books Library” to create an online collection that the students could access through a RSS feed link. 


If you have not used Google Books, you MUST check it out!  Books are searchable and some can even be downloaded as PDF files; plain text options are also available for viewing.  Students also get “similar books” suggestions available through Google Books, and they also have bibliographic data available at their fingertips for that particular book.  Students can also subscribe to our RSS feed for this feature and keep up with the latest additions to our Google Books!  These tools are powerful because they provide access to materials you might not be able to obtain in print and increase accessibility to these resources to EVERYONE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 


The other tool we have been using as part of our research pathfinders this year is del.icio.us.  Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking web 2.0 tool that allows you to bookmark and catalog your favorite web resources with “tags”—think of tags as keywords or subject headings.  You can access these resources from any computer—not just your home computer.  For this assignment, I tagged some articles from our GALE Virtual Reference Library (GALE is the only vendor right now that we can “infomark” directly to articles, but we are hoping more vendors will get on board with this feature). 

I then used Google Scholar to search for scholarly articles related to our research topics.  While we can’t use Google Scholar to interface with our databases in the ways that college libraries can at this point in time, we do have access to JSTOR, a college level database of scholarly research articles covering all disciplines.  Because JSTOR is a vendor partnered with Google Scholar, we can use Google Scholar to search for articles and then “tag” those articles with our del.ici.ous account.  While some would argue doing this takes away the element of students searching for articles on their own, I would counterargue that this method is more of an “entry” into the database that will hopefully entice students to further explore that information source once they have acquired a “comfort zone” by looking at what we have put on the “menu.” 


The teacher was extremely excited about these new tools and felt it was a major improvement on the research pathfinder from last year (we collaborated in 2006 on this same assignment).  The students will be in here tomorrow and Friday, and I think once they have time to get “immersed” in these tools, they too will feel excited and energized about the research project. 

It makes me feel good to know that I can provide our students access to new materials we don’t physically own!  I also am excited that I can use web 2.0 tools to help my students “mine” or find an entry into quality information sources we own but that may be intimidating to students.  I hope that this hybrid of web 2.0 tools will make our database resources and books seem “cooler” and more relevant to our students.

That is today’s Library 2.0 roundup!

7 Responses to “Aha!: Library 2.0 Moments of the Week!”
  1. middlemedia says:

    Great ideas! This week I also worked with a teacher on creating a Delicious pathfinder for a project on African societies’ influence on climate, land resources, and physical features. The classes will be using the pathfinder next week, so we will see how it goes. In my pathfinder, I not only tagged the resource, but also annotated the link as to what the student can find in the resource and I added links to netTrekker, Grolier, and GALILEO into the Delicious tag I used to link directly to this collection of links.

  2. I LOVE del.icio.us—we have had a really positive response from the teachers with whom we’ve used it. I am going to try to take more time to annotate my tagged resources—I know that would make those resources even more user-friendly.

    Are you able to infomark directly to articles in Grolier and GALILEO? I can do direct links to specific articles in all my GALE databases and JSTOR, and I know I can use express links to specific databases, but I have not had luck doing the same to specific articles in a database like EBSCOhost Literary Reference Center via GALILEO. Let me know if you are able to do that!

    Thanks so much! 🙂

  3. SHS Media Staff says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing! I am really impressed with what you have done. I admit to be rather new to what Google Books can do! I am going to have to spend more time with it. I have use del.icio.us for two social studies pathfinders so far to mixed reviews! I think the kids just have to get used to its interface.

  4. Thanks Elease! I just started playing with Google Books, too, so I am still on a learning curve. I love it, though! I also added a “Google Gadget” link to my Google Library for my “iGoogle” page.

    I think anytime we introduce new tools, it takes some time for patrons to feel comfortable with the concept, especially something like del.icio.us. I have no doubt, though, that as you guide them through your pathfinders using your wonderful links (I love what you have on your account!!!), they will soon realize what a powerful resource del.icio.us is!

    Days like today are why I LOVE being a librarian! 🙂

  5. sandiadams says:

    This is awesome, I will share this in my next Web 2.0 class. It is wonderful to see these powerful tools in action!! My hat is off to you pioneers!

  6. JOY MABRY says:

    Awesome. I wish I was 45 instead of 75. This is so exciting.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Buffy Hamilton wrote about a wonderful collaborative tool she used with a teacher on an inquiry-based project: […]

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